Plasma leptin and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in normal subjects at high altitude (5050 m)

G. Morici, A. Bonanno, A. Licciardi, G. Valli, C. Passino, D. Bonardi, N. Locorotondo, M. Profita, P. Palange, A. Cogo, M. R. Bonsignore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: High altitude (HA) is a model of severe hypoxia exposure in humans. We hypothesized that nocturnal hypoxemia or acute maximal exercise at HA might affect plasma leptin and VEGF levels. Objectives: Plasma leptin, VEGF and other metabolic variables were studied after nocturnal pulse oximetry and after maximal exercise in healthy lowlanders on the 3rd-4th day of stay in Lobuche (5050m, HA) and after return to sea level (SL). Results: Leptin was similar at SL or HA in both pre- and post-exercise conditions. Pre-exercise VEGF at HA was lower, and cortisol was higher, than at SL, suggesting that nocturnal intermittent hypoxia associated with periodic breathing at HA might affect these variables. Conclusions: Leptin levels appear unaffected at HA, whereas nocturnal hypoxic stress may affect plasma VEGF. Future HA studies should investigate the possible role of nocturnal intermittent hypoxemia on metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Hypoxia
  • Maximal exercise test
  • Metabolism
  • Periodic breathing
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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